The Young Professionals Network of Latinas Lead California is led by an outstanding group of young women who are dedicated to promoting Latinas in public leadership and community activism.
Juana Hernandez, Chair
Juana Hernandez serves as Senior Manager of Postsecondary Initiatives at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and its strategic affiliate, UNITE-LA. In this role, Hernandez staffs the L.A. Compact, a collective impact initiative that brings together twenty-four key Los Angeles institutions from education, government, labor, business, and the nonprofit sector to transform student outcomes in the region. In addition, Hernandez supports the Chamber’s higher education policy advocacy efforts and implements aspects of the L.A. Cash for College regional financial aid completion campaign. Previously, Hernandez performed policy research at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in Boston, MA and managed a national internship program at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) in Washington, DC. She began her career in direct service, working as an academic advisor and retention coordinator at the University of the District of Columbia. The daughter of immigrant parents and a first-generation college graduate, Hernandez earned her B.A. at UCLA and her master’s in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Hernandez grew up in Buena Park, CA and now resides in northeast Los Angeles with her partner Victor G. Sanchez.
Jessica Maldonado, Vice Chair
Jessica Maldonado is a political and nonprofit management professional with a passion for effecting positive social change. A native of South Los Angeles, Jessica is a proud graduate of the University of California, Riverside (UCR), where she earned a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and served as undergraduate student body president from 2009 to 2010. After graduating from UCR, Jessica completed fellowships with the offices of Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In 2012, Jessica joined President Obama’s campaign staff as a field organizer in Ohio, where she worked with community leaders, volunteers, and local officials to help ensure the President’s reelection. Jessica went on to work as an organizer and project staff at the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), where she advocated on behalf of educators, fast food workers and childcare providers. During the 2016 presidential election, Jessica served as the California field representative for Voto Latino. In this role, she led state voter registration and education efforts and conducted media and public relations on behalf of the national organization. Jessica recently served as community outreach director for Wendy Carrillo for Congress in a special election in the 34th Congressional District of California. Currently, Jessica works as a political strategies consultant who seeks to empower women, people of color and underrepresented communities to run for office.
Viviann Anguiano, Director of Fundraising
Viviann Anguiano is originally from Chicago, where she led community outreach efforts to increase college access for low-income students of color across the city. Viviann is currently the Manager of Parent Advocacy at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. She formerly consulted for UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization, where she conducted policy analyses on the effects of federal education legislation on students of color and English Learners. Prior to UnidosUS, she was the Founding Assistant Director of Admissions at Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, where she spearheaded the admission efforts of the new two-year college. She has also worked as a Community Outreach Worker for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission in which she assisted students attending high need Chicago Public Schools to achieve their postsecondary aspirations. Viviann holds a B.A. in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago and a Master in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Stephanie Castellanos, Director of Professional Development
Stephanie Castellanos is an Education Consultant, Diversity & Inclusion Strategist, expert facilitator and grassroots community organizer. Her passion for social innovation and youth empowerment stems from her upbringing in Inglewood, CA, experiences as the first in her family graduate from high school & college, and as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Stephanie has innovated the recruitment strategies of national education and political organizations, working across more than 30 states including California, New York, Texas, and in Florida for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. She is the Co-Founder of the Coalition for Diverse Educators(C4DE), a national grassroots movement to increase teacher diversity in urban public schools. In addition, Stephanie has empowered and trained over 20,000 students, youth, young professionals and community leaders via her Wokeshop™ training series. Her expertise includes community organizing strategy, diversity talent acquisition, millennial career coaching, and professional & leadership development for first-generation/students of color. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Major in Sociology and a Minor in Urban Planning & Regional Studies. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Justice Now, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of women in prisons.
Paola Fernandez, Recorder
Born and raised in Northeast Los Angeles by Ecuadorian parents, Paola learned from an early age the power of diversity and community. Her parents taught her the value of truth, perseverance, and education. In May 2017, Paola lost her mother after a difficult battle with breast cancer. Despite this tragic loss, her mother continues to inspire and fuel her in pursuing a career in public service. Paola is currently pursuing her master’s in public policy at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Her interests include political leadership and the intersection between philanthropy and government. A double Trojan, Paola completed her bachelor's degree in International Relations with dual minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Spanish at USC as well. In 2015, Paola joined the staff of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, working across the Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Office of Public Engagement, the Office of Legislative and External Affairs and, most recently, under the Chief of Operations. She was a key member of the staff that produced the Mayor’s annual State of the City Address, the 2017 Mayoral Inauguration, the White House Regional Convening on New Americans, and the Civic Youth program. Serving her community and working with young women is one of Paola’s true passions. In addition to her work with Latinas Lead California, Paola serves as a mentor and advisor to Las Fotos Project, a nonprofit organization based in Lincoln Heights. When Paola is not at USC football games or running with the Boyle Heights Bridge Runners, you can find her visiting museums, planning her next excursion, and learning about the rich history of Los Angeles.
Irma Gorrocino, Director of Operations
Irma Gorrocino is a senior field representative and caseworker for Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez. She oversees housing and healthcare issues for the congresswoman. Most recently, Irma worked as a policy analyst for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), establishing framework for implementing federal guidelines and coordinating an advisory group of individuals with lived experience. Previously, she worked as a community outreach consultant for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), one of the oldest Latino civil rights organizations in the United States. As a passionate supporter of female empowerment in her community, Irma incorporated her own Girl Scout troop in Southeast Los Angeles. She has also served as a mentor for Las Fotos Project, a nonprofit in Boyle Heights that works to expose transitional adult youth to photography. She is also a member of the Planned Parenthood Young Professionals Network. She seeks to obtain her Master's Degree in Public Administration and continue working towards the advancement of her community. Irma was raised in a working-class family in East Los Angeles. She went on to earn her a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Urban Planning from California State University, Northridge.
Jessica E. Lopez, Director of Engagement
Jessica E. Lopez is a first-generation Guatemalan-American with high energy and an immense desire to continue shaping our community. As a Consultant at AECOM, Jessica works with the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office and the Bureau of Contract Administration to decipher and enforce City contract law and assist in the implementation of streamlining procurement processes for the city. Jessica has been active in promoting political representation in the region, volunteering on the Monica Rodriguez for City Council and Luz Rivas for Assembly campaigns. She is also a member of the Avance Democratic Club. As a young professional, she aspires to further develop her skills in business development and public policy in order to advocate for small businesses, economic development, gender equity, and education. Jessica earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at Mount Saint Mary's University.
Rubi Martinez, Director of Communications Strategy
Rubi Martinez is a communications professional, she develops and implements strategies to help highlight broader impact and finds creative ways to help amplify projects and initiatives. In her current role as a communications manager at the UCLA Labor Center, Martinez is dedicated to helping highlight narratives and catalyze a broader media impact that elevates the stories of immigrants and working people across the nation. Most previously, she worked for the Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Nevada, Arizona and California. Later served as Political Director in Nevada for Nextgen Climate, a campaign working toward fighting climate change and advocating for transitioning to a clean energy economy. Martinez is a lifelong journalist, she’s worked for the top television news media organizations. She was a founding board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ L.A. chapter and a board member of the California Chicano News Media Association. In 2016, she earned an Emmy-nomination for her work at Univision in Las Vegas. During her time at Univision, she was the evening news producer, and the political producer for +20 news stations across the country owned and operated by her station’s parent company. Martinez produced the highest rated newscast in the state, regardless of language. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with an emphasis in Spanish-language journalism from California State University Northridge. Martinez was born in Mexico and grew up in the San Fernando Valley.
Kimberly Ortega, Director of Digital Content
Kimberly Ortega is a Southeast Los Angeles native, born and raised in the City of Cudahy. Kimberly currently serves as the Social Media/Press Assistant for Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán, managing and developing media and communication strategies to maximize the Congresswoman’s external presence with her constituents. Kimberly previously served as Field Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. Kimberly is a founding member of the Southeast Los Angeles Democrats and serves as the club’s Secretary. She is also an appointed delegate to the California Democratic Party by Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon. Active and dedicated about improving the quality of life for families, Kimberly serves as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Cudahy, making recommendations for the City Council on matters that guide the future physical development of the City. As the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and the oldest of three children, Kimberly was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Cal State Long Beach.
Isabel Sanchez, Political Director
Isabel Sanchez is the Policy Advocate for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). In this capacity, she works in conjunction with CHIRLA’s Policy Team in protecting the rights of immigrants by promoting local, regional, state and federal policies that advance immigrant integration and protect immigrants’ basic human and civil rights. Furthermore, she serves as a liaison between federal policy members and CHIRLA. Isabel holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of California, Riverside in Political Science/Law and Society. Prior to joining CHIRLA, Isabel worked as a congressional staffer for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in Oakland, CA where she served an intermediary role between federal and local agencies on behalf of the Senator’s constituency.
Angelica Arteaga, At-Large
Born in Pasadena, California in 1985 to Max and Martha Arteaga, Angelica was raised in the city of Monrovia with her two siblings. Growing up, she learned the value of commitment and sacrifice by observing her parents open and establish two successful businesses. Angelica has a beautiful daughter and son, the product of her first marriage. Even though her first marriage did not turn out as expected, the experience made her a stronger mother and woman. Angelica has been a co-owner and Business Executive at Max’s Mexican Cuisine since 2001. She oversees two well-established restaurants in the cities of Monrovia and Azusa and will soon be opening up a third location in the city of San Dimas. As a business leader, Angelica has made numerous contributions to the local community, including participating in annual toy drives, providing food and financial sponsorships for community events, and partnering with local non-profit organizations to host fundraisers. For its civic participation and contributions to the 4th Annual Cool Kutz for Kids, Max’s Mexican Cuisine was recognized by the state of California. In 2014, the Azusa Chamber of Commerce honored Max’s Mexican Cuisine as the Business of the Year. Angelica is passionate about empowering and providing employment opportunities to hardworking, vision-driven individuals.
Gabriella Barbosa, At-Large
Gabriella Barbosa grew up and taught in Silver Lake and South Gate and has dedicated her career to improving the economic mobility of low-income communities in Los Angeles. As someone who sees education as the key to upward social mobility, she became a teacher after graduating from college and then subsequently went to law school in order to use law as a tool to tear down barriers and secure equal opportunities for historically marginalized communities. As Policy Director of Board District 5 of Los Angeles public schools, she researches local, state and federal education laws and policies; authors board policy briefs and resolutions; analyzes legal and policy implications of board actions; forms and maintains collaborative relationships with constituents; and develops strategies for advancing policy goals that support students, families, teachers, and community members of Board District 5. Previously, she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Public Counsel, the largest public interest law firm in the nation. At Public Counsel, she started the English Learner Advocacy Project and advocated for equal educational opportunities on behalf of students with immigrant backgrounds in California public schools. Through a combination of direct legal representation, impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and collaborative community education, she worked to close the opportunity gap and improve the academic outcomes of students. Gabriella received a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights from Columbia College of Columbia University and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.
Gabriela Cid, At-Large
Gabriela Cid was born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles, and now serves the southeast communities she grew up in as Field Representative for Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán. Before joining Team Barragán, Gabriela was part of the organizing team of FWD.us, a 501(c)(4) organization established by Mark Zuckerberg to mobilize the tech and business community to push for immigration reform. Her life as an immigrant rights advocate began in 2007, as a high school student when began organizing on her high school campus with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). As daughter of undocumented immigrant parents, she understands that fighting for immigrant rights and protections is a lifetime commitment. She is also very passionate about education and mentorship. As a student at both UCSB and USC, she worked for educational programs that served first-generation, low-income students as they ventured through the college process. Gabriela currently serves as co-chair for the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project’s Los Angeles Institute.